December is upon us, and while I have been living in sunny Florida for three years, now, I’m a midwestern girl, and sunny warmth seems incongruous with the inflatable snowmen and twinkling lights on display as I drive through my neighborhood.
It is also at this time of year that the reality of physical distance between myself and all with whom I’ve shared holiday traditions settles most upon me, and I am tempted toward an attitude of melancholy and the feeling of profound loneliness.
My friends and family are always just a phone call away, and reaching out helps ease the pain tremendously, but an additional soothing balm to my wounded holiday spirit this year has been the practice of gratitude. Of course, the American tradition of Thanksgiving has always provoked me to give lip service to the idea of being thankful once per year, but lately I’ve found myself searching for ways to practice gratitude each and every day.
One helpful tool I’ve discovered is making gratitude lists. This is as simple as it sounds, just jot down item after item of things to be grateful for. This has been an especially appealing exercise for me because I have recently started working as a restaurant server, and we have these little pre-lined notepads upon which we write our orders. I find it fun and therapeutic to spend a couple of minutes between tables jotting down items to be thankful for, one on each line.
Speak Your Gratitude
Another thing I do to encourage gratitude while at work is to give voice to my feelings of gratefulness whenever I’m forced to reach up high, or stoop down low. I’m not as young as I was in my previous incarnation as a restaurant server, and I believe it is important I remind myself to be thankful for the ability to perform these motions.
Songs of Gratitude
My final strategy for incorporating more gratitude into my life is to remind myself of my new strategy, by listening to and singing the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, JR. I’ve embedded a lyric video below for your listening pleasure.
I hope I’ve inspired you to think of even more ways to express your gratitude this year. If so, I’d love to know! Feel free to comment below with your ideas for expressing gratitude year-round.
Until we next connect,